Knesebeck Infantry

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Hanoverian Army >> Knesebeck Infantry

Origin and History

The regiment was raised in 1617 as a unit of the Principality of Brunswick-Celle which remained independent from Hannover until 1705. It consisted of 12 companies. Its first Chef was Major-General von Schönberg from 1617 to 1643.

In 1619 and 1620, the regiment was involved in the operations against Hamburg and Lübeck.

The unit was one of the four regiments that this principality maintained during the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) to serve with the Imperial Army. In 1625, the regiment took part in the Battle of Hanover. In 1626, it fought in the battles of Calenberg and Lutter am Barenberge. In 1631, the House of Lüneburg changed side and allied itself with Sweden and the four regiments of the Principality of Brunswick-Celle joined the Swedish Army. In 1632, the regiment took part in the siege of Calenberg and in the Battle of Lützen. In 1633, it fought in the Combat of Hessisch-Oldendorf. In 1634 and 1635, the regiment took part in the occupation of Westphalia and Hildesheim. In 1640, it was at the capture of the Fortress of Steinbrück and in the siege of Wolfenbüttel. In 1642, when the House of Brunswick-Lüneburg declared neutrality in the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648), the regiment was reduced to 4 companies. After the Treaty of Westphalia, in 1648, each of these companies was further reduced.

In 1665, after the death of Duke Christian Ludwig zu Zelle, the regiment was increased to 12 companies.

In 1666, the regiment was sent to the relief of Bremen, besieged and bombarded by the Swedes.

In 1668 and 1669, the regiment participated in the unsuccessful expedition to support the Venetians at Candia (present-day Heraklion) in the Island of Crete.

In 1671, the regiment took part in the siege and capture of Braunschweig.

In 1675, the regiment marched to Bremen country and blockaded the Fortress of Stade until its surrender in August 1676. Then Duke Georg Wilhelm sent these troops to reinforce the Brandenburger Army in Pomerania. The regiment took part in the capture of Anklam and Demmin. In 1677, it was at the long but successful siege of Stettin. In 1678, the regiment accompanied Brandenburger troops in an expedition on the Island of Rügen. During this campaign, Stralsund, Greifswald and Dammgarten were also taken.

In 1679, when Denmark blockaded Hamburg, the regiment joined a force assembled on the Weser. It then marched towards the Elbe, forcing the Danes to retire.

In 1685, the regiment was sent to Hungary where it took part in the siege and capture of Neuhäusel and in the Battle of Gran. In 1686, it was at the capture of Ofen. In 1687, it fought in the Battle of Mohacz.

In 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment was transferred to the Rhine to fight against the French. In 1689, it took part in the capture of Mainz and Bonn. In 1690, it was sent to Brabant. In 1692, the Chef of the regiment, the Brigadier de la Motte, took 3 companies of the existing battalion and combined them with 2 newly raised companies to form a second battalion. In 1693, it took part in the Battle of Landen. The regiment then marched towards Hungary. In 1694, it returned to Zelle. In 1695, it was at the capture of Namur. In 1697, after the Treaty of Ryswick, the 2 companies were disbanded and the regiment reorganised in a single battalion..

In May 1700, the regiment took part in the campaign against the Danes and was at the attack on the Castle of Keinbeck.

In 1701, at the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–13), 2 new companies were raised. In 1702, the regiment was reorganised in 2 separate battalions: the first became Gauvain Infantry (the subject of the present article) and the second, Du Breuille Infantry. Gauvain Infantry then went to the Netherlands. In 1703, it participated in the capture of Bonn, Huy and Limbourg; and in 1704, in the Battle of Blenheim. It then had to march back to Zelle to replenish its ranks. In 1705, the regiment was incorporated in the Hanoverian Army and went to Brabant. In 1706, it participated in the Battle of Ramillies and in the siege of Menin; in 1708, in the Battle of Oudenarde; in 1709, in the Battle of Malplaquet and in the siege of Tournai; and in 1710, in the siege of Saint-Venant.

In 1719, the regiment was sent to Mecklenburg to oppose the Russians and the Mecklenburgers.

Regiment of Foot Knesebeck (Freidermann in 1748) - Source: Gmundner Prachtwerk, a manuscript in the library of the Prince of Hannover

In 1743, during the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment formed part of the Reserve Corps encamped at Hanau. The regiment then served on the Rhine in the next campaigns. In 1746, it was transferred to Brabant and took part in the Battle of Rocoux. In 1747, it fought in the Battle of Lauffeld. In 1748, the regiment returned to Hanover where it garrisoned Zelle.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:

  • from 1734: Colonel August Friedrich von Bothmer (died on November 22 1743 as major-general)
  • from 1743: Colonel Georg Friedrich Freudemann (brigadier in 1746, major-general in 1754, retired in 1756 as lieutenant-general)
  • from 1756: Colonel Ernst Friedrich von dem Knesebeck (retired in 1758 as major-general)
  • from 1758: Colonel and Adjutant-General Johann Wilhelm von Reden (major-general in 1759, lieutenant-general in 1762, general of infantry in 1781 and field-marshal in 1784)

Service during the War

On July 26, 1757, during the French invasion of Hanover, the regiment took part in the Battle of Hastenbeck where it was deployed in the first line of the right wing under the command of General Block. The regiment was also present at the siege of Harburg and took part winter expedition against Zelle.

In March 1758, the regiment took part in the siege and capture of Minden. On May 26, the regiment was with Ferdinand's main force in the camp of Nottuln. On May 31, it accompanied Ferdinand in his offensive on the west bank of the Rhine. On June 12, the regiment took part in the affair of Kloster-Camp. On June 23, it fought in the Battle of Krefeld where it was deployed in the centre in Lieutenant-General Oberg's Brigade (6 battalions) which, at the opening of the battle was ordered to make a diversion towards Sankt-Tönis. During this campaign, the regiment lost Captain-Lieutenant von Grote and 9 privates killed; Captain von Friesenhausen, Lieutenant von Hodenberg; 2 NCOs and 23 privates wounded.

In December, when the Allied army took its winter-quarters in Westphalia, the regiment was quartered in Tillegette, Walbech and Alberstock.

In June 1759, the regiment was part of the main Allied army under the command of Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick. On August 1, the regiment took part in the Battle of Minden where it was deployed in the first line of the 4th column in Major-General von Scheele's Brigade. In this battle, it lost 17 men killed or wounded. In December, the regiment operated on the Lahn under the command of Lieutenant-General Count von Kilmannsegg.

On June 6, 1760, the regiment took part in the attack on Frankenberg under the command of General Luckner. On July 10, it took part in the Combat of Corbach where it was attached to the right column of the main corps under Lieutenant-General Count von Kilmannsegg. It later marched to Wesel under the command of General Howard von Bühne. On October 16, at the Battle of Clostercamp, the regiment along with the 87th Keith's Highlanders, the 23rd Royal Welsh Fusiliers (Huske) and the 20th Kingsley's Foot assaulted the monastery at Kamp. In the campaign of 1760, the regiment lost Lieutenant Grupen and 23 men killed; Captain von Bothmer, Captain-Lieutenant von Hodenberg, Lieutenants Ostermeywer, Oldenburg and von Freudemann, 5 NCOs and 76 privates wounded.

In November 1761, the regiment was part of a force sent to dislodge Broglie's Army from Einbeck. In this campaign, it lost 3 men killed; and Lieutenant Oldenburg, 1 NCO and 12 men wounded.

On June 24, 1762, the regiment took part in the Battle of Wilhelmsthal where it was attached to Granby's Corps forming the left wing towards Dörnberg. In August, the regiment was at the cannonade on the Fulda. In this campaign, it lost 9 men killed and 17 wounded.



Uniform in 1756 - Copyright: Kronoskaf
Uniform Details
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with a sprig of oak leaves, three red and black pom poms and a black cockade
Knesebeck Infantry Grenadier Mitre Cap - Source: Hannoverdidi
Prussian mitre in the British pattern with a small front flap. Black front and small flap with white decorations. On the front was a brass crowned shield with GR and Order of the Garter below. The small flap had a white border, bomb and scroll work, red sack, black back base all piped in white lace.
Neck stock black
Coat red with 2 pewter buttons and 2 white buttonholes under the lapels (hidden by the sleeve in our plate)
Collar none
Shoulder Straps red (left shoulder)
Lapels black, each with 7 pewter buttons and 7 white buttonholes
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 2 pewter buttons and 2 white buttonholes
Cuffs black (slashed in the British pattern), each with 3 pewter buttons and 2 white buttonholes just above each cuff on the sleeves
Turnbacks white fastened with a pewter button
Waistcoat white with 2 horizontal pockets, each with 3 pewter buttons
Breeches straw yellow
Gaiters white
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather
Waistbelt natural leather
Cartridge Box black
Bayonet Scabbard black
Scabbard black
Footgear black

Uniform in 1759 - Copyright Kronoskaf

During the war, Hanoverian uniforms were gradually simplified.

Troopers were armed with a musket and a sword (brass hilt), and carried a dark brown haversack with a metal canteen on the left hip.


Officers had silver lace lining the cuffs and lapels, a black cockade hat, a gold gorget with the arms of Hanover in the centre and carried a yellow sash slung over the right shoulder. Sergeants wore straw gloves. Partizans were carried.


Drummers wore a red coat with swallows nest and lace in white.

The drum pattern had hoops in alternating black and red diagonal stripes, white drum cords over a brass drum with the Arms of Hanover in the centre.


Colonel Colour: white field; centre device consisting of the Arms of Hanover (common to all Hanoverian infantry regiments except 10-B).

Colonel Colour - Copyright: Kronoskaf

Regimental Colour: red field; centre device depicting a scene with a knight, a fortress with rockets fired from the remparts; under the centre device, a trophy of flags; over the centre device, a white scroll carrying the motto IMPAVIDUM FERIENT RUINE. Hereafter, we present an illustration from the Reitzenstein Sammlung, dating from circa 1761 (left) and our own interpretation (right).

Regimental Colour - Source: Interpretation of the Reitzenstein Sammlung (circa 1761)
Regimental Colour - Copyright: Kronoskaf


This article incorporates texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:

Other sources

Biles, Bill: The Hanoverian Army in the 18th Century, Seven Years War Association Journal Vol. VI No. 3

Gmundener Prachtwerk, circa 1761

Knötel, H., and Hans M. Brauer: Heer und Tradition

Niemeyer, Joachim and Georg Ortenburg: The Hanoverian Army during the Seven Years War

Pengel & Hurt: German States in the Seven Years War 1740 to 1762, Imperial Press

Reitzenstein Sammlung, Bomann Museum, Celle

Rogge, Christian: The French & Allied Armies in Germany during the Seven Years War, Frankfurt, 2006

Vial, J. L.: Nec Pluribus Impar